Creamy Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

Man.  School be getting at types of crazy right meow.  Winter quarter is coming to a close, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it.  Alumni that I’ve spoken to and have been through my program lament that this quarter is the toughest one in terms of time management and coursework.

That being said, I realllllly dislike bitching about school because…I chose this path.

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I was working a full time job with a nice salary and full benefits…but I quit, moved across the state, and took out an outrageously high federal student loan to go back to school and pursue a master’s degree.  Why did I sacrifice comfort for no pay and hair that is beginning to gray at 25?

Because I love everything about food; its function in our bodies and the pivotal role it plays in culture.  I love to cook.  I love science.  And simply, I absolutely love to learn.                             It thrills me.  It nourishes me.  It inspires me.

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I already knew how to cook. I have put in my time working in hot sticky kitchens, knives flying across the room, sweat dripping from my eyebrows trying to get everything plated at the same time, picking pieces of couscous out of my hair on my way home.  I enjoy the shit out of the creativity in mixing different flavor and color combinations together and I live for the electric buzz of the kitchen. I thought about going to culinary school…I thought about it long and hard.  But I wanted a career that would not only feed my soul, but also my intellectual hunger and craving to think more, know more, be more.

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I knew I wanted to go back to school and pursue a higher degree.  Additionally, I  knew I wanted to apply my knowledge to a career where I could make a profound difference in someone’s life in a natural, healthy way. All of these reveries were beginning to smolder at the same time that I bought a road bicycle and we fell madly, deeply in love.  I started cycling everywhere and began to pursue more outdoor activities that I had previously never considered like hiking, snowshoeing, and mountain climbing.  And we fell deeply, and very intensely in love.

So how could I combine my aspirations to help others in a healthy way with my obsession in the kitchen and my desire to keep studying?  The answer practically smacked me in the face one lazy summer afternoon while I was lounging by the pool listening to Electric Ladyland with a Corona in my hand.  Oh, the irony.

Nutritional Science.

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I adore what I am learning; I have no shame in admitting that I totally geek out on food science on a daily hourly basis.  At the end of a year-long internship and this crazy roller coaster ride that is graduate school, I will be a Registered Dietitian that can help other people learn how to change their lives simply by changing what is on their plate. That may sound cheesy (at least I didn’t say brie all you can brie)…

but if it IS true that we only live one time on this earth, we should strive to spend our time on the things we love and the people we care about. Simple as that. Easy as Pie.

Cheers to that.  Cheers to life.  And cheers to a hot, steaming bowl of soup on a dreary day that is incredibly filling, exceptionally creamy, and completely plant-based and good for you.  Hands down, this is one of the tastiest soups I have made to date.  I am really excited to share this recipe with you!  Roasted winter root vegetables are pureed with fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme and the flavor combination will knock your fuzzy little socks off.  White beans are added for protein and yummy coconut milk is swirled in to create a creaminess that is pretty much addictive.  Make this soup, take a true food nerd’s word for it.

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

Makes about 7 cups, ~175 calories per cup

  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced but don’t seed it
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 1 rutabaga, peeled and diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 15 oz can white beans (cannellini or great northern)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 1.5 tsp minced fresh thyme
  • cooking spray (can be coconut, olive, doesn’t matter!)
  1. First you have to roast all dem veggies…once this is done the soup practically makes itself promise. Pre heat oven to 400 degrees F and line two different baking sheets with tin foil.  On one sheet, place the sweet potato and rutabaga.  On the other, arrange the pepper, parsnips, carrots, and garlic.  Give each tray a generous dousing of cooking spray.  We’re separating the baking sheets because they take different times to roast!  Usually, the rutabaga/sweet potato takes the longest.
  2. Place sheets in the oven and check after 15 minutes.  The parsnips/peppers/carrots/and garlic should be done after about 15-20 minutes, when they’re tender and starting to brown- they be done. Keep checking so they don’t burn.
  3. Leave the sweet potato and rutabaga in anywhere from 35-45 minutes depending on your oven.  I actually took the sweet potato off the tray after about 30 minutes and kept roasting the rutabaga for an additional 15.  Every oven is a unique snowflake- keep checking frequently to avoid scorching veggies/burning home to ground.  The veggies are sufficiently roasted when tender after being pierced with a fork.
  4. When all the veggies are nice and roasted, transfer to a high speed blender.  Mince the roasted garlic finely.  Add in all remaining ingredients (spices, coconut milk, beans, fresh herbs, veggie broth, I’m lookin at you…and even you, lemon juice, you can come too)
  5. Puree the crap out of the mixture until a thick, orange soup is produced.  Taste test- every veggie broth is also different so if yours needs some *pop,* add in another pinch of salt (add in 1/4 tsp increments) and lemon juice (add in a couple squeezes at a time).  Taste test until you get it right, this process encapsulates the beauty and elusiveness of soup.
  6. Serve hot with a huge chunk of toasted bread. Or just eat with spoon. Hell, pour it into an IV drip at this point.  SOUP’S ON!
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